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HomeWorldIranian ambassador to UK 'removed' over 'norm-breaking' hijab incident

Iranian ambassador to UK ‘removed’ over ‘norm-breaking’ hijab incident

Local media has said that Mohsen Baharvand returned to Tehran after video of an embassy event showed women without head scarves.

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New Delhi: Iran’s ambassador to the UK, Mohsen Baharvand, has been reportedly dismissed after a video circulated showing an embassy event at which some women did not have their heads covered.

Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), a daily that belongs to a labour union controlled by the Iranian government, reported about Baharvand’s return to Tehran last week.

The ceremony in London was held in early February to commemorate Iran’s 1979 Revolution. News of the ambassador’s dismissal came two weeks after.

Kayhan, an Iranian newspaper whose editor-in-chief was appointed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, had also reported on 26 February that the ambassador has been dismissed from his post over a “norm-breaking” ceremony held at the embassy.

ILNA also reportedly quoted foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying that Baharvand was “on the change list along with 37 other ambassadors”.

The Iranian government, however, is yet to officially disclose the reason behind Baharvand’s removal.

Baharvand was posted as ambassador to the UK in July 2021. He had previously served as the deputy head of the legal department in Iran, under former foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

His dismissal comes at a time when Iran is negotiating whether to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, generally known as the Iran nuclear deal, at Washington’s behest. If revived, the deal would see the lifting of many sanctions on Iran.

Also read: Iran will recognize ‘inclusive’ government in Afghanistan

‘Pianist without head covering’

In the viral video, a woman musician can be seen playing the piano for guests without wearing a hijab. However, other women who attended the event can be seen with their heads covered.

Iranian officials often attend events outside the country where the hijab is not worn.

In Iran, however, wearing a headscarf and covering all parts of the body was made mandatory for women after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Iran’s morality police, known as Gasht-e Ershad or ‘Guidance Patrol’, have powers to chastise and even arrest people for failing to meet what might be called the modesty test. This includes women who leave part of their heads uncovered while out in public.

Also read: We asked Muslim women why they wear hijab in playing sports. Here’s what they told us


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